Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Steven Posch

Steven Posch

Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Icicle Music

Just exactly what Coyote did to get Bear so riled up, I don't know.

Knowing Coyote, I'd say he probably seduced his daughter, or his son. Or maybe not. It was Wolf Moon, after all, cold enough to freeze the nose off your face, and early for Bear to be up and about.

He's always grouchy when he first wakes up in the spring—low blood sugar, probably—and, let's face it, Coyote's pretty irritating at the best of times.

So, anyway, Bear had been chasing Coyote through the snow and Coyote had skedaddled his mangy ass up a skinny old jack pine. He had to climb all the way up to the top where the branches were too small to support Bear's weight. Then he waited.

Well, Bear grumbled around the foot of the tree for a few days, but finally he gave up and went away to find something to eat.

Here's the problem. Going up, Coyote had adrenaline to help him up the tree, but after three days he was stiff with cold and weak with hunger, and he knew he wasn't going to be able to climb down out of that tree without falling and cracking his skull.

So, what did he do? What would you do in that situation?

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
And Your Shaggy Dog Too

In what has been called the Glorious Autumn of '79, author-priestess Margot Adler (1946-2014) set out on a coast-to-coast tour promoting her newly-released book, the instant classic Drawing Down the Moon.

On November 13, she was scheduled to speak in an occult bookstore in one of the two small cities that span the Red River on the Minnesota-North Dakota border.

As she arrived at the bookstore, she was met on the sidewalk by a group of irate fundie protestors. One angry nazz threw a stone that struck Adler in the forehead, wounding her superficially.

Nothing daunted, Adler, blood streaming down her face, turned towards the crowd and raised her arms. The chanting Christians immediately fell silent.

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    100% fictional. I'll do anything for a Spoonerism.
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    Christian hypocrisy drives me nuts. That is quite a story...

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The State of the Rite

To judge from my own experience and what I've heard from others, the state of pagan ritual is not particularly strong right now.

That's hardly to be wondered at. Ritual is an art, and—as with any art-form—to gain mastery takes time, especially when you mostly have to start from the ground up and teach yourself as you go.

The quality of pagan ritual is decidedly not improved by the custom—I'm almost tempted to call it a recreational sport—of ritual-shredding. How many times have I sat around a campfire after the evening ritual listening to a vicious vivisection of every single thing that went wrong in circle that night?

Enjoyable as it may be at the time, ritual-shredding is a self-indulgence which we cannot permit ourselves. It's pointless to tear down what someone else has built if we ourselves have nothing to put in its place.

For this reason, here in Paganistan the thew (custom) has arisen that No ritual may be criticized until the next day.

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Amateurs.
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    My sentiments exactly. In the past I've taken the time and trouble to articulate what is successful and what failed in a large pu

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Dream of a Common Language

In the dream, I'm part of a delegation of New Pagans from the West that has gone to the Kalasha valleys to attend a grand convocation of contemporary pagans, both old and new.

(The Kalasha are the only Indo-European-speaking people who have continuously practiced their ancestral religion since ancient times. About 4000 of them live in three remote valleys in what is now northwestern Pakistan. They are known for their polytheistic religion, their wine-drinking, and for the freedom—and beauty—of their women.)


A Kalasha spokeswoman stands up to welcome everyone to Kalashastan. A few sentences into her speech, everyone begins to laugh in appreciative surprise.

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Indeed! Very few of my dreams strike me as being profound, but I think that this one qualifies. Me, I'm going to hold out for a m
  • Dragon Dancer
    Dragon Dancer says #
    Awesome dream! If only, right?

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Standing at the Center of Time

Imagine that you're standing in the middle of a clock-face, facing 3.

Stretch out your right arm towards 5 and your left towards 1.

Now face East and hold your arms out in the same way. Extend the angle of your arms all the way out to the horizon.

Here where I live (44.9778° N), that's how far the Sun travels from one Sunstead (Solstice) to the next. Same with the Western horizon.

Due East and West, of course, mark the Sun's rising and setting positions at the Evendays (Equinoxes).

The midway points between the Sunstead and Evenday risings and settings mark the Cross-farthing points: Samhain-Imbolc (southerly) and Bealtaine-Lunasa (northerly). From wherever you live, you should be able to point out these places on your own horizon. If you're not paying attention, you're not pagan.

Having lived in the same house for almost 30 years now, I know these “Stations of the Sun” very well indeed. I'm nonetheless always astounded at how quickly the Sun moves along the horizon. The rising point now is well past the Imbolc mark, well on the way to Ostara/Easter, and we have the dawn skies to prove it.

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    YAAAAASSSSS!!!
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    We worship some ancient god out of a book and think that that's paganism. That's not paganism; that's a cartoon of paganism. Full
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    I needed this today. Thank you. And "if you're not paying attention, you're not Pagan" ....yes yes yes...

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Secret Smile

A warm golden light streams from the temple doorway. I enter.

Shining, the Goddess stands on the altar. She's actually grinning.

This is not always the case. Usually Her smiles are of the small, secret variety that art historians call “archaic.”

Not today. Today She wears a big, wide grin. Anyone who thinks that statues are static has never lived with this one.

Gifts always make Her happy. The coven was over for Full Moon last night. Each of us kindled a candle before Her. For five days they will burn there, bearing the intentions of our heart.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Protective Coloration

I have it from a friend who grew up Pentecostal that if ever (who knows?) you should have to pass yourself off as a “Tongues”-spouting Bible-banger, here's what you need to do.

Look like you're in trance. (You're pagan, no problem.)

Repeat again and again, faster and faster, as if you can't help yourself:

Tie my bow tie. Untie my bow tie. Retie my bow tie.

***

 The ancient Romans regarded the Germanic tribes as paragons of perfidy. Again and again they would conclude treaties, only to break said treaties as soon as it was advantageous to do so.

What the Romans never understood was that in Germanic culture, A binding agreement can only be validly concluded between equals.

With some effete, boy-boffing southron shaveling, no agreement could ever possibly be considered binding.

Last modified on

Additional information